HANOVER, N.H. – After Saturday’s softball doubleheader between Dartmouth and Cornell was moved up two hours to avoid inclement weather, the wind continued to howl giving an edge to the hitting power of the home team who took two wins against the Big Red, 8-4 and 7-2.
The Big Green improve to 14-14 on the season with an 8-3 conference record after Saturday’s wins. All three games of the series are crucial to Ivy League standings as both teams entered the day tied for second place in the conference.
“I thought the kids came out and competed in a not-ideal situation,” said head coach Shannon Doepking. “The weather was obviously not great, it’s absolutely freezing out here, but any time you can put up the runs that we put up today is a good day at the ballpark. Everything is really starting to come together and they are starting to trust the process and stick to pitches that they can get into, good things start to happen when you start to get into those pitches.”
In the first game, the turning point was the bottom of the third. With both teams scoreless and two outs, Micah Schroder started a miniature home run derby at Dartmouth Softball Park, hitting a solo shot over the right field fence. Morgan Martinelli followed suit launching one of her own to left field, then freshman Schae Nelson continued homering to center field, before Taylor Ward hit the last home run of the game to center. The four consecutive home runs tie the NCAA record and sets an Ivy League record for most consecutive home runs, which was last done by South Dakota State in 2016.
As the Big Green jumped out 4-0 into the fourth, the action didn’t stop there. In the bottom of the fourth, Schroder grounded out to second base, batting in a runner from third extending the lead by one run. Martinelli, again, followed with an RBI double, scoring Jade Bravo who was on third, before Nelson reached on an error and Martinelli scored the third run of the inning.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the road team would put runs on the board, as the designated hitter Kate Jencarelli came to bat with the bases loaded and hit a sac fly to right field, batting in her teammate. Madeline Avery would follow up with a single RBI to cut the lead 7-2.
Dartmouth inked in an insurance run in the bottom of the inning with a triple to right field as she sprinted through the bases, batting in Tatyanah Castillo and extending the lead 8-2. Cornell would continue to fight back, tallying two more runs in the top of the seventh both in bases-loaded situations again, cutting the lead to only four runs, but would not come any closer to tying the game.
Senior Breanna Ethridge got the start and took the win in game one, as she pitched five innings allowing five hits and two runs with two errors, three walks and four strikeouts. Freshman Heather Turner came in for relief, pitching two innings allowing three hits, two runs and one walk with two errors and one strikeout.
In game two, the Big Green continued to excite the crowd that was bigger than expected for the conditions outside. The first three batters in the lineup loaded up the bases before Taylor Ward came to bat, as she was hit by a pitch Schroder trotted in the first run of the game. Calista Almer than reached first on a fielder’s choice as Ward was tagged out at second, but Martinelli was able to score taking a 2-0 lead.
Castillo then hit a double down the left field line, as Almer and Nelson scored, followed by a single from McKenna Gray that Castillo was able to score on. Dartmouth scored 5 runs in the first inning and held the road team scoreless through six innings.
Martinelli hit a double RBI in the bottom of the second to bat in Schroder, scoring the sixth run for the Big Green. Again in the fourth, the home team tallied another run on a single RBI from Almer, extending the lead to 7-0.
As freshman Shelby Wilkison pitched the entire second game, she only allowed five hits, but three of those would come in the top of the seventh only three outs away from taking the win.
Cornell’s Katie Hale hit a single up the middle but recorded two RBI as the runners on second and third scored the only two runs of the game for the road team. Gray would end up making the play to end the game, catching a fly ball from Erin Rockstroh to take the win.
Sunday’s game against the Big Red has been postponed due to forecasted inclement weather and will be rescheduled at a yet-to-be-determined date and time.